Four Huntsville police officers honored with Life Saving Medals

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- Four Huntsville Police officers were awarded Life Saving Medals at Thursday's city council meeting.

Lenzie Albert and April Payne were awarded for their actions after an 18-wheeler wreck that WHNT News 19 reported last April. Chief Mark McMurray says both officers worked to save a young man who was trapped in his car.

"He was sitting in his car and I asked him to roll the window down and he wasn't doing it," she told WHNT in an interview after it happened, noting he must have been injured or at the very least in some kind of shock. "We smelled gas pretty strong and the hood was steaming so I thought it was going to catch fire and blow. I knew we had to get him out. Officer Albert busted the window and I reached in and pulled him out."

Officer Jason Vanderbrink was also awarded for life saving efforts to save an unconscious man from a burning apartment.

"He pulled him outside to help them regain their air. Actually, once he did that he went back in the house also to look for others," said the Chief. "If it had not been for Officer Vanderbrink's actions that evening, the victim's life would have been in jeopardy and because of the fast moving nature of the fire, likely would have died."

Officer Scott Trew also received a medal. Chief McMurray says the officer saved a heart attack victim who had fallen out of his wheelchair and was found floating in a pond.

"Without hesitation, Officer Trew jumped into the pond, pulled the victim to safety," explained the Chief. "Had it not been for Officer Trew's quick reaction... that person would have drowned. Thank you very much, Officer Trew."

Chief McMurray tells WHNT News 19 that recognition is not why officers do what they do. But he still finds it important to award them for these heroic efforts.

"Tonight's awards gave us an opportunity to showcase what these officers do every day, risking their lives," said McMurray. "Every night they go out and touch somebody's life. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good, but they have an opportunity to leave an impression with someone's life every day they go to work. That is their ultimate reward, what they can do for the people they come in contact with... But it's important to get their family here to see what these men and women have accomplished."